A Practice Story: Returning Home
Submitted by a student in the Meditation at Work Class
Meditating every morning, for me, was like returning home. I had taken a meditation class in college, which had a meditation session every morning at 7:30 am. I loved both the practice and the meditation. However, I found without the overarching structure of a class to make me do it I lost my motivation. To sit down in class again more than 10 years later was very refreshing.
However, as much as I had remembered that I liked meditation, it was not an easy practice for me to pick up again. I started at home at first, as I had practiced years ago, on the floor. I found that entirely too uncomfortable so went back to the way you had initially suggested, sitting on a chair. I had initially learned to meditate with my eyes closed and found the instruction to leave them open very distracting. As I continued to work on it every day, it became easier until it was more natural for me to keep them open than to close them. In this way, I found the advice to listen to the world to be very helpful.
Keeping my mind open was another struggle, which I continue to struggle with even after having done it every day for five weeks. Some mornings I am too tired to have much going on in my mind, but even then my mind often starts racing to what I need to do to get out of the house and what I have to do once I get to work. I do find though, that the longer I sit the more my mind is able to calm down and just “sit” as well. I couple the meditation with another 20 minutes of yoga. Sometimes when I cannot seem to settle my mind while sitting, I can do so when I move into the yoga practice.
Despite the initial struggles I have had to keep my mind open and clear, I have found that even a little as ten minutes a morning profoundly influences the rest of my day. I find myself calmer and more centered. I can face stressful situations with a more centered and focused mind as opposed to one that is jumping all over the place. What I would really like to see is my ability to incorporate the “centered” feeling I have after meditating into the bulk of my day. I find as the day goes on, and as I grow tired, the more difficult it becomes to acknowledge those feelings and let them go as we discussed in last week’s class. While I recognize this is a life long practice and have noticed some changes in the way I feel and act, I was hoping for a more measured outcome.
I appreciated the opportunity to look first at the very abstract and radically different teaching of the Buddhist mind and philosophy and then to apply to them to the every day world. It is my hope to continue to meditate every morning. I hope at some point I will start to see an incorporation of the practice into my whole day. Thank you for the motivation to begin what I hope will be a life long practice.